Derval lands another big win in Dunmore East!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014  |  Admin

Hook or by Crook Triathlon 2014

Triathlon has been unkind to me in many ways but it has also brought much fulfilment to my life; wonderful friends, a healthy lifestyle, a great boyfriend (and coach!) and has led me to many beautiful and idyllic coastal locations in Ireland, which I doubt I would ever have visited was it not for triathlon. Dunmore East in has to be one of Ireland’s best kept secrets... a little fishing village in Co. Waterford perched on a striking red sandstone cliff-edge.


This quaint little village not only holds the world record for the largest tuna caught on a rod, but also each year some more “big fish” take to the crystal clear waters at Strand Beach for Waterford Triathlon Club’s sprint distance triathlon, Hook or by Crook.



Dunmore East view from from Strand Beach to Councillors Beach



I had come 2nd in this race last year. My fellow SwimCycleRun teammate, Maire Triona Keane, beat me to 1st place by 30 seconds and so I was back to see if I could better my performance and also defend my Belpark Club Champion title.


It was a smashing day with the sun already hotting up when transition opened at 9:30am. Thankfully I had remembered to pack sunscreen! Many Belpark Club members had started to congregate in transition and there was also a good turn-out from Piranha and Cork Triathlon Club, it being their club championship too. To add some spice to the event, Belpark and Piranha set up a competition between the two clubs. This meant that every single club member would contribute to a face-off, from their first to last finisher. The winning club would be the winner on the 'Best of 7 Competitions' ( i.e. whoever wins 4 of the 7 categories -  e.g. first woman and man to finish, average NS points for all club participants, for top and bottom 30% of all club participants, etc). This made for a great atmosphere on the day and encouraged everyone to race hard and push all the way to the finish line.


The Swim

I was in the 2nd wave with all the other females and males over 40. It was great to have the women start together as it makes for a more interesting race for the spectators and each athlete knows where they are in the race, rather than being split up in difference waves. The water was calm but my nerves started to rise as I watched those in Wave 1 run into the water after the start count-down. Those of us in Wave 2 with our red swim caps lined up along the shore all eyes keenly focused on the 1st yellow buoy 250 m straight out to sea.


Wave 2 swim start


Once we got the start signal I dived in and started to swim, however some guys managed to get in ahead of me and then decided to walk – I couldn’t get around them and was frustrated at how much time I was losing. My swim to the first buoy was quite rough, everyone was bunched together and seemed to arrive at the 1st buoy all at once. I decided to take a wider line towards the 2nd buoy so I could push the swim on a bit, but felt I was only getting into a more consistent swim rhythm once I was past the 3rd and last buoy. As I exited the water and reached the pedestrian footpath I took my wetsuit off and ran with it to T1 – this somehow resulted in me being covered from head to toe in sand! Once I got into T1, in a time of 14:28, it was simply on with the helmet and sunglasses and out with the bike.


The chase to T1


The Bike

Due to the steep descent out of transition I didn’t manage to get my left foot into my shoe until I reached the Waterford road. Then the strap of my shoe managed to come away from its clasp and I ended up having to dismount my bike to sort this issue out! This lost me about 20 seconds. Once on the bike and clipped in I started to concentrate on the task ahead. I knew my swim hadn’t gone well. I knew Ellen Murphy (Belpark club mate), Linda Clarke, Marie Boland and Vanessa Fenton would at this stage probably have been out of the water and onto their bikes ahead of me. I knew I had to work to catch them. The bike course is an out and back undulating route and there was a headwind during the first half. I started to overtake some of the women ahead while noticing that my heart rate monitor wasn’t picking up on my display screen. I would now have to work on feel. Coming up to the turnaround point I could see Ellen Murphy ahead. Ellen had come second in TriAthy so I knew she would be one of the leading women. About kilometre after the turnaround point I managed to pass Ellen but I had still no idea if there were more women ahead. Coming back into Dunmore East I dropped a few gears to make it back up that ferociously steep hill into T2. The sun was still out and I had realised as I racked my bike I hadn’t taken in any liquids on the bike - I hoped this wouldn’t deter me on the run.


The Run

Coming out of T2 I could see that Ellen was again head of me again – crap, I knew I would have to work on the run. The Dunmore East race, while a sprint distance, has a 7km run which sends you up a hill that, let’s just say, you wouldn’t thank Waterford Tri club for! And it’s on this hill that I had Rich Cattle on my left and Ellen Murphy on my right – both Belparkers - each trying to push themselves and each feeling the pain. I started to pull away from Ellen going uphill and Rich and I made it to the top of the hill before turning left along a small quiet country road.


Towards the finish line


I pushed a little harder and started to pick off a few men up in front. I got a few cheers from onlookers at the T-junction onto the Waterford/Dunmore East road and it was just then, when someone had shouted encouragement to me that I realised I was the leading woman. I still some kilometres to go but felt more comfortable on the run compared to last year. I was glad however to finally see the finish line up ahead and pushed it all the way to the line in a finish time of 1:20:31.


Ellen Murphy and Aoife Fay


Aoife Fay came second in 1:21:36 and Ellen Murphy came 49 seconds later taking the 3rd on the podium. Well done also to Brendan Murray of Belpark Tri who came 4th overall and not only had the fastest run split but became Belpark’s 2014 Club Champion. And big congrats to Kevin Keane (photo below with winner Trevor Woods), Helen French, Julianne Boden and Fergus Dowd who won age-group prizes and to Brendan Crawford who won Belpark’s best newcomer to the sport (onwards and upwards Bren!) We have yet to see who won the club face-off competition…  watch this space!


Kevin and Trevor re-fuelling at the finish line


We were very generously catered for at a BBQ hosted by Ellen Murphy’s family after the race. So thanks to the Murphy’s for having the club take over their back garden, once again, for some yummy post-race food and to SwimCycleRun and its team for their continuous support and well wishes. And finally thanks to Kevin for making sure I didn’t do what another club member (ahem, Stephen Early) did 2 years ago and loose the club trophy on a good night out. :D


Thanks for the images to:

Martin Jancek  / TI Media: Full Album here.

Damien Jackson / TI Media: Full Album here.

Waterford Tri Club: More Images here.

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